Chicago viewers tune in for Sochi games

NBC at Sochi

Opening ceremonies ranked fourth; Twin Cities gets ratings gold

For a city who is basically sick of winter by now (and who isn’t), it doesn’t our interest in the Winter Olympics had been dampened – not by a long shot.

Friday marked the Opening Ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Despite being tape-delayed for nine hours (one, with the right **ahem**, maneuvering, could’ve watched it live on the internet earlier in the day), the opening ceremonies (OC) drew a whopping 31.7 million viewers, the most non-live ceremony since the 1994 Lillihammer games, carried by CBS. The telecast was up 43% in total viewers from the OC of the 2006 Torino games.

Among adults 18-49, the opening ceremonies drew a 8.7 rating.

In metered overnight ratings, the Sochi OC drew a 17.0/28 household rating/share, down only 2% from the 2010 Vancouver OC, which were carried live.

The numbers are quite impressive for a Friday; in recent years, Fridays have become an afterthought to most network programmers as reality shows, second-tier sitcoms, and older-skewing programming usually fill the night (though recently, a Blue Bloods episode on CBS drew an impressive 12 million viewers.)

Meanwhile, Chicagoans turned out en masse for the Sochi ceremony, with NBC’s WMAQ scoring a 21.6/34 locally, placing fourth among Nielsen’s 56 metered household markets. Minneapolis-St. Paul finished first (KARE, 26/45), followed by Salt Lake City (KSL, 24.4/43); and snowbird-populated Ft. Myers, Fla. (WBBH, 21.7/34).

Among other Midwest markets, Kansas City tied fifth with Boston (21.5); Milwaukee placed seventh (20.7/35) and Indianapolis placed fourteenth (WTHR, 19.3/32).

While the 21.6/34 locally is impressive, it still falls far short of the 44.8/68 WFLD earned for Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2.